Civil War

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Sodus Point and the Civil War

Dan Phillips Photo700x900

Dan Phillips 2nd photo 700x1000
Another photo of Daniel Phillips. Both photos are courtesy of Dan Patchett who is Daniel Phillips’ great-grandson.


Four Sodus Point boys are known to have fought in the Civil War


Daniel Phillips, a Civil War veteran who fought at Gettysburg, was appointed keeper of Sodus Bay Lighthouse in 1882 and was in charge of the station for thirty-five years, by far longer than any other keeper.


F.C. Wickham 7/27/1843 – 01/25/1918 buried in Wickham Cemetery


William C. Wickham 1837 – 1878 buried in Wickham Cemetery


Pvt. Benjamin Clark – June 1864 believed to be buried in Poplar Grove National Cemetery.


Wayne County also raised companies for multiple volunteer Union regiments, including the 33rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the 98th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the 111th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and the 9th New York Heavy Artillery Regiment.
During the Civil War, men from Wayne served in the 111th New York Infantry, under Colonel Clinton D. MacDougall.
The 111th New York was present at, among others, the Battle of Gettysburg, the Battle of the Wilderness, the Battle of Cold Harbor and the Appomattox Campaign. During the Battle of Gettysburg, the 111th took the second highest casualties as a regiment of the entire battle.
Throughout the war, the regiment took a total of 1803 casualties, of which 158 were Killed in action, 557 were Wounded in action (490 of whom recovered to some extent), and 1088 Missing in action.


The story of Pvt. Benjamin Clark as told by  Barbara Bissell Erway. Benjamin was her Great Great Great Uncle.


BIRTH 1847 • Village of Sodus Point, Town of Sodus, County of Wayne, State of New York
DEATH 16 JUN 1864. Benjamin followed his older brothers and friends into service, likely by giving his age as older than he was which was 16. His muster roll card is what gave the impression they did not know his true age. He was a sailor, 6 ft tall, blond hair, hazel eyes. He was mustered in on December 28, 1863.


Benjamin Clark’s muster card, Photo courtesy of  Barbara Bissell Erway



Civil War: May 5 1864 • Spotsylvania County, Virginia, USA


Pvt Benjamin Clark of Sodus Point New York: NY 111th Infantry Volunteer, Companies D & G fought in the “Battle of the Wilderness” and all days preceding and following, reaching Petersburg, VA on 16 June 1864 where he was “Killed in Battle”. Our 3rd Great Uncle. We believe his remains went to the National Cemetery. There were only 1/3 of the many casualties ever identified. All were transported by teams of oxen. Some were returned home.


Poplar Grove National Cemetery is highly likely Pvt. Benjamin Clark’s burial place. A team of Union Soldiers with ox carts worked for three years following the Civil War brought those killed in battle from nine surrounding Virginia counties. Only one third of some six thousand were identified. Fellow soldiers had tried to leave identification when they buried their dead by trees and fences in the battle fields. His birth year is known via census records. His true age at death is shown.


Photo courtesy of  Barbara Bissell Erway


Benjamin’s Regimental Action at Peterburg, VA .     Please click on the 2 links below to read. Use the + and – keys to zoom in and out:




Poplar Grove National Cemetery. Photo courtesy of  Barbara Bissell Erway


This video of a tribute ceremony gives some idea of the great loss of our soldier’s lives.


Charles Degen – Sodus Point Lighthouse Keeper and Civil War Soldier

Another Sodus Point connection to the Civil War was Charles Degen. He was a former Sodus Point Lighthouse keeper. Click here to read his story: